A new raw food trend? Okey pokē!

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This year is high-fiving Hawaiian food. Amy Dawson gets stuck into poké.

First we loved sushi, then we went mad for ceviche and now there’s a new raw fish exotic delicacy to rave about. Poke(pronounced ‘poh-keh’) is a staple Hawaiian dish, adored by the likes of Nicole Scherzinger and Gizzi Erskine, and predicted to become one of the major new food trends of 2016.

It’s a zesty, hearty salad made with steamed rice (often black), seaweed and pickles, usually topped with cubes of raw tuna marinated in soy and ginger. However, the word ‘pok¯e’ is actually just the Hawaiian verb ‘to section’, which means you can have your salad topped with chunks of tofu, octopus, salmon, tuna or whatever else you fancy.

Compared to those other food stuffs sometimes associated with Hawaiian cuisine – spam and buckets of mayonnaise – poke is definitely a super-healthy option, packed with slow-release carbs, good fats and protein.

Celia Farrar, co-founder of Eat Poke London (a kitchen that supplies trendy street food markets around the capital), thinks 2016 could be the year the tropical dish makes it mainstream in the UK. What’s more, it’s easy to recreate at home.

‘Everyone should give it a go,’ she says. ‘It comes down to getting the best quality fish you can and not feeling daunted. There’s amazing skill involved in
making proper Japanese sushi but this is more straightforward and you can flavour it how you like.’